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After 2 weeks, are the Denver Broncos dead in the water?

In lieu of all the injuries, Mile High Report weighs in.

Denver Broncos v Pittsburgh Steelers
Can Jeff Driskel manage the offense?
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

After a second brutally close loss to drop them to 0-2, the Broncos are staring at the remainder of their schedule without both Courtland Sutton and Von Miller. And they are just the biggest names on a lengthy list of injured players that includes Denver’s best cornerback, their star running back, as well as two defensive tackles.

Whether this year ends with a playoff berth or not, the 2020 season was supposed to be a year for John Elway and the Broncos to discover what they have in quarterback Drew Lock. Instead, it looks like Jeff Driskel will be the starter for the foreseeable future.

It’s been a brutal couple of days for the orange and blue. We need a vibe check.

Melvin Gordon’s touchdown was a thing of beauty.

With all the injuries, what are your expectations for the remainder of the Broncos season?

Taylor Kothe: I’m turning my eyes toward watching for individual players’ growth. Let’s be clear - a triage unit masquerading as an NFL team can’t be expected to contend for the playoffs. It sucks, it’s not what we expected out of this season, but it is what it is. It’s also not the coach’s or GM’s fault that half of the top 10 or so players on the team are out of commission. Blame the curse of 2020 for that. So let’s take a deep breath, let the youth season and develop, and realize that 2021 will be the year to judge by.

Joe Mahoney: We’ll finish 6-10, just good enough to miss out on the top QBs, but within range if we want to trade up. Lock will play well enough in some games to have his supporters saying he is the QBOTF, but he will also struggle and lose some games that we could have won. We will still have questions about our starting QB going into the 2021 season. Demar Dotson will get inserted into the starting lineup and the line will play better, but Driskel will struggle once DCs start scheming to exploit his weaknesses.

Scotty Payne: More false hope and disappointment until reality sets in for the final month of the season, and I hate-watch as the Broncos ruin their potential top 5 draft position and I argue with Laurie who says “you always root to beat the Raiders” and I argue for better draft. In simpler terms, the same script the past 4-5 years.

Laurie: reputation remains intact. As I said on Twitter, I will never cheer for intentionally losing, but I will be in favor of playing A LOT of young guys this year and seeing what we’ve got. We should just consider 2020 one long preseason for 2021.

Adam Malnati: Perhaps the best way to approach the rest of the season is to have no expectations. With so many injuries, it’s hard to know what to expect. Sure, we can all hope for some growth throughout the season, or we can hate watch the rest of the year, but in truth, the Broncos have fallen into a hole that would be difficult to dig out of without all the injuries. I expect to sit down each Sunday and be frustrated.

Ian St. Clair: In the words of Peter La Fleur from “Dodgeball,” “I found that if you have a goal, that you might not reach it. But if you don’t have one, then you are never disappointed. And I gotta tell ya ... it feels phenomenal.”

Joe Rowles: Every week during every NFL season I take a look at Football Outsiders’ Playoff Odds report. They run a simulation of the season according to their metrics 30,000 times and spit out the results each Monday. This week it says the Broncos made the playoffs 8.5% of the time. 10.2% of the time they had the #1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. 40.8% of the time they had a top 5 pick.

On top of all that nerd talk is how historically difficult it is for teams to bounce back from 0-2 to make the playoffs. I’m not telling you it can’t happen, but I can’t spend every weekend angry over losses after seeing all that math.

At this point I’m looking at the Broncos’ season as a chance to watch all the young players develop. Even if the final results suck, the games should be exciting.

Noah Fant is currently on pace for 1,100 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

Is there any silver lining for you?

Joe M: We’ll know what we have in the first- and second-year players by the end of the season because almost all of them will be forced into heavy action. Michael Ojemudia has already been thrown into the deep end and we get to see if he can swim. Albert O. is gonna replace Jake Butt or Nick Vannett in the rotation. Lloyd Cushenberry already looks like solid starter. Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler both will become big parts of the offense.

Scotty: Beating Tim Lynch in fantasy football.

Laurie: Beating ANYONE in fantasy football. I had Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay and Broncos’ defense. At least one of those still gets me points. But to be honest, I’ll be excited to watch the young guys - the stars and the ones who will now be thrown in with the big dogs because they have to be. I will also be crossing my fingers the injured report just stops.

Adam: I know that the season is a wash, so my frustration every Sunday will be gone relatively quickly.

Ian: Lock wasn’t more severely injured. Hopefully he’s able to return on the shorter end of the three-five weeks and get back on the field. Lock’s continued development is the most important of this season.

JoRo: Like Ian said, the fact that Lock returns this season is a huge relief. 2020 was always about finding out if he was the guy. For roughly 24 hours we didn’t know if he’d play again this year.

While Courtland Sutton getting hurt is devastating, it also creates a situation where K.J. Hamler and Jerry Jeudy will have to step up to fill the target vacuum. After watching the Steelers tape I’m really excited to see what they can do with the opportunities.

Bradley Chubb has two games since last year’s injury and should only continue to improve. Noah Fant is having a breakout season. Melvin Gordon is better than advertised. Even though Michael Ojemudia and Lloyd Cushenberry struggled in their second NFL game we get an opportunity to see how they rebound against another tough matchup. Garett Bolles has looked better than I expected. I could go on and on.

Everyone takes pride in how the Nuggets were home grown. There Broncos are made up of an exciting young core on rookie contracts. Even if the injuries keep them out of the playoffs, it should be fun to watch them play.


How many games can the Broncos win in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    (55 votes)
  • 9%
    (205 votes)
  • 59%
    (1309 votes)
  • 28%
    Tank for Trevor season.
    (618 votes)
2187 votes total Vote Now